UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

Half way to victory Lane

Half way to victory Lane
Pro Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., vaulted from fifth place to first overall in the Pro Division during the second round of FLW Tour Open competition on the Potomac River.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - After turning in the biggest sack of the day at 18 pounds, 8 ounces, Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., vaulted from fifth place to first overall in the Pro Division during the second round of FLW Tour Open competition on the Potomac River. With the top-20 cut announced, Lane now finds himself only two days removed from the possibility of securing a tournament title as well as a hefty first-place check of $125,000.

With today's results finally in the books, Lane said he was more than pleased with the way the tournament has progressed so far.

"This river has been good to me," said Lane, who now boasts a two-day total of 35 pounds, 11 ounces.

Lane said that he's been targeting largemouth bass in specific grass pockets. However, the Florida native said that his window of opportunity is fairly small and that it has been essential to capitalize on his bite during his brief period of optimal fishing conditions.

"I have about an hour-and-a-half window when my bite is really on," said Lane. "But it's been the same thing every time I've been here. You only really get about an hour and a half of quality fishing time. I'm basically keying in on areas where the brim are spawning in holes in the grass and milfoil. You need good clean grass and I'm basically keying on a couple of small areas flipping mats. But you have to wait for the right tides or your quality fish won't be there. It's really just one little window. But when those fish are on, they get on it good."

Lane emphasized that the knowing the tidal tendencies of largemouth bass is essential for putting together a compelling stringer on the Potomac.

"Understanding how the fish react to the changes in the tides here is so important," said Lane. "And a lot of the guys really don't understand that. They'll just go out, find a spot and sit in it all day flipping. But if you know how the tides affect the fish, you really have an advantage here."

Lane said he's going with the same strategy in tomorrow's session - another crucial day of fishing where the pro field will be cut down to the top 10.

"I'm using the same gameplan tomorrow," he said. "So far, so good. But I've been in this position before and this tournament is far from over. So I'm going to have to go out there and execute tomorrow as well."

Ike moves up to second

New Jersey native Michael Iaconelli recorded a total catch of 33 pounds, 9 ounces to land second place overall on the Potomac heading in the semis.While a major shuffling occurred atop the leaderboard - most notably day-one leader Larry Nixon tumbling from first to 65th place - one of the primary constants in the tournament so far has been the consistently stellar production turned in by New Jersey native Michael Iaconelli. After two days of competition Iaconelli now boasts a total catch of 33 pounds, 9 ounces, good enough for second place overall.

Amazingly enough, "Ike" moved up one spot on the leaderboard fishing entirely new water.

"For me it was a different day," said Iaconelli of Pittsgrove, N.J. "All of my fish came from new place. In fact, my best spot today was an area I tried to fish yesterday. But when I got there yesterday, there were 3-foot waves pounding that area so I never got to fish it. But today, I probably caught 50 fish there. Actually, my main regret was that I didn't go to that spot sooner."

Like Lane, Iaconelli said having an understanding of the tides is essential for success on the Potomac.

"On a tidal river it's very important to have a bunch of different spots and a good understanding of how the fish position themselves during different tides," he said. "During tournaments you have to constantly make adjustments and `fish the moment.' And that's about 10 times more important when you're fishing tidal waters."

Iaconelli said that he continues to target largemouth bass along grass lines while always being on the lookout for cleaner water. He also said that he can't wait for the third day of competition to start.

"I love how FLW Outdoors has a top-20 cut," he said. "Because for me, it means a lot less boat traffic and a lot less noise. I'm really excited to have made the cut. Tomorrow I'm hoping most of my areas will only have two or three boats in them instead of 20. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the way things have gone so far. I haven't had any perfect days yet, but I'm only a few pounds off the lead and I'll take that. At least I know I have a chance to win this tournament."

Vic maintains spot amongst the leaders

Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio, finished the second day of Potomac River competition in third-place overall.Although Vic Vatalaro relinquished his perch atop the leaderboard, the resident of Kent, Ohio, said he felt good about his third-place finish overall. However, that's not to say his day on the open waters of the volatile Potomac River during today's competition was easy.

"As great as this place is, it can be pretty tough out there," said Vatalaro, who recorded a total two-day catch of 33 pounds, 2 ounces. "Today my fish didn't bite so well. I still caught a whole bunch of keepers but I couldn't get the big ones to bite. It was just a whole lot tougher today. But all things considered, I'm pretty happy right now."

One thing that Vatalaro was less happy about was the amount of boat traffic in his prime fishing location.

"I counted 21 boats there yesterday and I think there were even more there today," he said. "It's a lot like fishing Lake Okeechobee right now and that's kind of the not-so-fun part of the whole deal. Today I got to my spot, put my PowerPole down and pretty much stayed in my one area all day. I probably moved only about 100 feet over the course of the entire day."

Vatalaro said that he's continuing to target open spots in the grass in one main area where bluegills are either spawning or guarding fry.

"I found this area on the first day of practice," he said. "And I'm planning on going there tomorrow as well. I have three other spots as backups but so far I haven't really needed to go there."

Best of the rest

Luke Clausen of Otis Orchards, Wash., found himself in fourth place overall after boating a two-day catch of 32 pounds, 3 ounces.

Shinichi Fukae used an 18-pound, 8-ounce catch in today's competition to shoot up the leaderboard and grab fifth place overall with a total catch of 31 pounds, 13 ounces. Fukae also landed the day's Shinichi Fukae of Palestine, Texas, used an 18-pound, 8-ounce catch in today's competition to shoot up the leaderboard and grab fifth place overall with a total catch of 31 pounds, 13 ounces. Fukae also landed the day's "Big Bass" award after netting a 6-pound, 3-ounce largemouth.

Rounding out the top-10 pros were:

6th: Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill., 31-9
7th: Lance Vick of Mineola, Texas, 31-6
8th: Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla., 31-3
9th: Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., 30-9
10th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., 30-6

For the rest of today's standings, click here.

Jarabeck snares co-angler lead

Co-angler Philip Jarabeck of Lynchburg, Va., leapfrogged from third place to first overall with a two-day catch of 26 pounds, 11 ounces. Philip Jarabeck of Lynchburg, Va., leapfrogged from third place to first overall with a two-day catch of 26 pounds, 11 ounces. However, while Jarabeck might not yet be a household name, he has a great pedigree and could easily become the latest "young gun" that bass-fishing fans are talking about for year's to come.

"I'm not just saying this because he's my nephew," said FLW Tour pro David Dudley, who currently sits in 10th place overall in the Potomac River standings this week. "But he's the best natural fisherman I've ever seen. He just gets it. Yeah, I've helped teach him a few things over the years but I can't take credit for his success. He just soaks everything in and now you're seeing what he can do."

As far as Jarabeck is concerned, the Virginia native is pleased to have finally cracked the upper echelons of the leaderboard of a major tournament.

"It feels like I'm due," said Jarabeck. "Obviously David Dudley is my uncle and I've fished with him for six years and that's really helped me. I also have a lot of friends who are professional fishermen. And having their support and encouragement over the years has been great. Sooner or later I always felt (success) was going to happen."

Jarabeck said the keys to his success this week have been a combination of understanding tidal waters as well as maintaining a laser-like focus.

"For me the key this week has been staying focused on every cast and being really precise in my presentations," he said. "I also understand how the different tides position the fish and that's helpful as well."

Jarabeck said that he's primarily targeting grass with flipping techniques and a combination of a soft-plastic creature baits.

"As a co-angler, it's nice to be able to fish grass," he said. "Basically, your pro can't fish everything and that leaves a lot of areas open for the co-anglers to catch fish."

Leonard snares second place

On the strength of a 25-pound, 12-ounce catch, Cory Leonard of Castalia, N.C., grabbed second place overall heading into Saturday's final day of co-angler competition.On the strength of a 25-pound, 12-ounce catch, Cory Leonard of Castalia, N.C., grabbed second place overall heading into Saturday's final day of co-angler competition.

"I've had two great days with two great pros and so far, I couldn't have asked for anything more," said Leonard. "Today was wonderful. I just feel that if I can get on the right type water, I feel like I can catch them."

Leonard said that he's caught "every fish" so far on a specific type of soft plastic using a ¼-ounce weight.

"Once I get in the right water with the right type of grass with good water clarity, I can really catch them," he said. "Hopefully, I'll get to do the same thing tomorrow."

Best of the rest

Matt Stoupa of Colonial Heights, Va., finished the day in third place with a total catch of 25 pounds, 5 ounces.

Mark Banks of East Aurora, N.Y., landed in fourth place overall with a catch of 24 pounds, 9 ounces.

Kermit Crowder of Matoaca, Va., used a catch of 24 pounds, 3 ounces to head into the final day of co-angler competition in fifth place. Crowder also netted the day's Rounding out the top-five co-angler finalists was Kermit Crowder of Matoaca, Va., with a catch of 24 pounds, 3 ounces. Crowder also netted the day's "Big Bass" award in the Co-angler Division after netting a 6-pound, 13-ounce largemouth.

For the rest of today's co-angler standings, click here.

FLW Tour action on the Potomac River continues during Saturday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. at National Harbor Marine, located at 137 National Plaza in National Harbor, Md.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2011-06-02-potomac-river 

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